I am just so tired of the talking heads, where have all of the reporters gone? Every time you turn on the cable news channels or the network news shows, there is another talking head shouting out their opinion of the day’s events on a 30 minute repeat cycle. Where is the research? Where is the insight? Where is the investigation that will lead us to this conclusion? Instead we listen to hour after hour of the same story spun over and over without one iota of research, insight, or investigation. What has brought us to this? Who is to blame?
Is it the news stations that have cut budgets and forced hourly deadlines on their reporters, making newsworthy journalism impossible (Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism provides some great insight into this topic)? Is it the reporters who have found it easier to not question authority or prefer the ease of gathering opinions over facts? Or is it us, the audience? We want to feel like we are informed but we prefer to get our information in 30 minutes or less so that we can get back to the important task of following who will win the next American Idol?
If the political pundits weren’t bad enough… the only thing worse is the financial pundits! Case in point the last couple of weeks was Jim Cramer of Mad Money on CNBC. After an email question from one “Peter” – Mr. Kramer mistakenly told his audience that “No, No, No, Bear Sterns is fine… don’t move your money from Bear that’s just being silly.” Having spent a few years in the industry, I have seen this a few times but one of the best examples was the hedge fund LTCM (Long Term Capital Management) that in 1998 lost $4.6b in less than four months (a great book for the record is When Genius Failed by Roger Lowenstein). Mr. Cramer, you are just another talking head and you seemed to have robbed from Peter to pay Paul! Your audience looks to you for investment advice and you weren’t willing to research the issue and make the tough call. Instead you worried about a run on the bank and left your audience high dry with their worthless Bear Sterns stock. Now that your audience knows where you stand, I would imagine your advertisers might be researching their investment and we will soon find you sitting high and dry.
Fluff and spin might work for my dryer but not for my news. Where do you get your news?